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Gambling Addiction or Please, Play Responsibly!

By Alexander Liam.
Fact checked by Wilbur Thompson.

Gambling problems can be tough and unexpected. According to the Canadian gambling statistics, they may occur to any man or woman with any background. Sudden transitions from enjoyable, risk-free entertainment to an obsessive fixation accompanied by different negative effects are definitely a sign of problem gambling. A relentless focus on gambling may damage people’s relationships, ruin a gamer’s career, and cause financial struggles whether a player wagers at a racetrack, at a casino, on the Web, or on slots, sports, or baccarat, lotteries, roulette, poker or blackjack. Compulsive gambling can even cause such behavior when people get sucked into the vortex of debt or even start stealing different stuff and cash to play — actions people never thought they could commit.

Gambling addiction is a widely known problem that has a bunch of names. Sometimes it is called compulsive gambling or just a gambling disorder. The near-consensus of the academic world calls it a pathological impulse-control disorder or disease of impulse-control disorder. The main problem of people afflicted with compulsive gambling is that their own impulses to gamble are out of their control. It is hard to handle this craving for games of luck for them, even when their actions negatively affect their close and beloved and themselves. Gambling disorder makes addicted people gamble regardless of whether they are happy or sad, healthy or sick. People with such addiction keep playing without distinction of the consequences. This pathological impulse-control disorder pushes an addicted person to play even when he or she understands that there are no odds or they can’t afford to lose.

Needless to say that it is possible to struggle with compulsive gambling without being out of control for a hundred percent. The disease of impulse-control disorder is not only the worst level of gambling addiction – it is any condition and gambling behavior that casts a blight on a player’s life. It is easy to indicate a person that starts plunging into an unhealthy relationship with games of luck. Such people are keen on gambling – they not just spend but lose more and more time, energy, and assets on it.

Addiction to gambling is usually associated with some other mood disorders and behavior. A great number of gamers with compulsive gambling disorder also struggle with severe stress, substance abuse issues, habitual drunkenness, nicotine addiction, bipolar disorder, caffeine dependence, unmanaged ADHD, anger issues, anxiety or depression. A gambler needs to overcome other problems as well, to overcome problems with games of luck.

People with a pathological impulse-control disorder sometimes may feel like they don’t have enough power and self-assurance to backtrack on slot games of luck by themselves. Luckily, gamblers with an addiction have a lot of options to get back their lives, restore their finances, get relationships back on track, regain control of their impulses and overcome the whole problem.

Compulsive Gambling Myths and Facts

Dispelling the illusions regarding gambling disorders and separating them from actual realities is the first step toward self-management.

There is a myth that problem gamblers play games of luck on a daily basis. While in fact, people with addiction can gamble both frequently and infrequently. Gambling becomes a problem if it causes issues. Players shouldn’t turn a blind eye to the problems related to gambling if it is a rare occasion.

The other myth is telling that gambling addiction is not a real problem if the gambler can afford it. In fact, problems caused by excessive gambling move beyond financial issues. Too much time spent on gambling can also lead to broken relationships, legal issues, job loss, and mental health problems, including depression, anxiety or even suicide.

Another myth argues that having a compulsive gambling disorder is just a case of being weak-willed, irresponsible, or unintelligent. When in fact, gambling problems affect people of all levels of intelligence with different backgrounds. Previously responsible and strong-willed people are just as likely to develop a gambling problem as anyone else.

One of the myths also states that troubled relationships drive addicted people to gamble more. But in fact, problem gamblers often try to rationalize their behavior. Blaming others is one way to avoid taking responsibility for their actions, including what is needed to overcome the problem.

Signs and Symptoms of Gambling Addiction

Gambling addiction is sometimes referred to as a “hidden illness” because there are no obvious physical signs or symptoms like there are in drug or alcohol addiction. Problem gamblers also typically deny or minimize the problem—even to themselves. Nevertheless, due to the gambling addiction facts and statistics, it is easy to select some red flags that can help to elicit a problem.

One of the obvious symptoms is a feeling of need to be secretive about gambling. An addictive person might gamble in secret or lie about how much they gamble, feeling others won’t understand or that they will surprise others with a big win.

Having trouble controlling gambling can be called the other red flag of gambling addiction. If the person can’t walk away from gambling on their own and is compelled to gamble until they spent the last dollar, upping bets in a bid to win lost money back, it is definitely an alarm sign.

Gambling without money or contracting a debt for it is also an indication of a compulsive gambling problem. When gamblers play until they’ve spent their last dollar and then move on to the money they don’t have — money to pay bills, credit cards, or things for their children. They may feel pushed to borrow, sell, or even steal things for gambling money.

Worried family and friends are another sign of gambling problems. Denial keeps problem gambling going. If friends and family are worried, a person with addiction should listen to them carefully. It’s not a sign of weakness to ask for help. Many older gamblers are reluctant to reach out to their adult children if they’ve gambled away their inheritance, but it’s never too late to make changes for the better.

Self-help in the Event of Gambling Problems

The biggest step to overcoming a gambling addiction is realizing the presence of the problem. According to the gambling statistics, it takes tremendous strength and courage to own up to this, especially if a person has lost a lot of money and strained or broken relationships along the way. No one should despair and try to go it alone. Many others have been in such a position and coped with breaking the habit and rebuilding their lives. Everyone can handle it as they did.

People trying to get back control should learn to relieve unpleasant feelings in healthier ways. Does the impulse to gamble come in lonely or boring times? Or after a stressful day at work or following an argument with a spouse? Gambling may be a way to self-soothe unpleasant emotions, unwind, or socialize. But there are healthier and more effective ways of managing moods and relieving boredom, such as exercising, spending time with friends who don’t gamble, taking up new hobbies, or practicing relaxation techniques.

Strengthening the support network is the other good self-help method. It’s tough to battle any addiction without support, so everyone who fights gambling addiction should go out to friends and family. If the support network is limited, there are ways to make new friends without relying on visiting land-based casinos or gambling online. There is always an option to reach out to colleagues at work, join a sports team or a music band, enroll in an education class, or volunteer for a good cause.

Joining a peer support group is one of the most famous methods of handling an addiction problem. Anonymous Gamblers and their twelve-step recovery program patterned after Alcoholics Anonymous is incredibly effective. A key part of the program is finding a sponsor, a former gambler who has experience remaining free from addiction and can provide a newcomer invaluable guidance and support. And gambling addiction recovery statistics are impressive and spirit-stirring.

It was essential to recall that there are some underlying mood disorders that usually come in addition to gambling addiction. So seeking help with them would not go amiss. Compulsive gambling disorder can be triggered by depression, stress, substance abuse, or anxiety. Even when gambling is no longer a part of a gambler’s life, these problems will remain, so it is important to address them.

Dealing With Gambling Cravings Tips

Feeling the urge to gamble is normal, but with a strong support network, resisting cravings is much easier. When a gambling craving strikes, gamblers with disorders should avoid isolation. So, calling a trusted family member, meeting a friend for coffee, or going to the meeting of Anonymous Gamblers will be a good idea.

Also, people with a pathological impulse-control disorder should postpone gambling. Putting off gambling for five minutes, fifteen minutes or an hour can work. A long road can be easily taken by small steps. The urge to gamble may pass or become weak enough to resist.

Visualizing issues that will happen after gambling can be a working tip. Thinking about inner feelings after all the money’s gone can help to stop. Also, no one wants to become a disappointment to their family and friends again.

Another useful tip is switching to another activity, such as going to the gym, watching a movie, or practicing a relaxation exercise for gambling cravings.

Gambling Addiction Treatment

Overcoming a gambling problem is never easy, and seeking professional treatment doesn’t mean weakness in any way. But it’s important to remember that every gambler is unique, so each person with problems needs a recovery program tailored specifically to their needs and situation.

Modern medicine can offer inpatient or residential treatment and rehab programs. These are aimed at those with a severe gambling addiction who are unable to avoid gambling without round-the-clock support.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is the other effective option. Such therapy for gambling addiction focuses on changing unhealthy gambling behaviors and thoughts, such as rationalizations and false beliefs. It can also teach a person how to fight gambling urges and solve financial work and relationship problems caused by problem gambling. Therapy can provide proper tools for coping with addiction that can last a lifetime.

Family therapy and marriage, career-changing, and credit counseling can help work through the specific issues caused by gambling addiction. They also can lay the foundation for repairing relationships and finances.

But the best treatment of gambling problems is to avoid them in the beginning when you are going to gamble for the first time. Just remember simple rules and follow them from the outset. Play only means that you can specially allocate for entertainment and never more. And when you enjoy games of luck, please, play responsibly!